Although its overall viewership is slightly down from last year, Boardwalk Empire’s strong showing at awards ceremonies and general, if not universal critical praise has earned the HBO drama a third-season pickup, meaning that expensive set and all those costly tweed suits won’t go to waste. Renewing the Prohibition-era, proto-gangster series—much like its commitment to the similarly lauded, yet sparsely attended Treme—once more confirms that HBO is intent on letting its shows develop regardless of ratings, at least these days. And yeah, we could all sit here and complain that it would have been nice if they’d felt that way when Deadwood was still around, or we could just take solace in the fact that they finally learned their lesson. Either way: Given the incremental improvements in the show, another season allows Boardwalk Empire more time to become the compelling, must-see television it’s currently thisclose to being, mostly by allowing Paz de la Huerta more time simply to wander off, never to be heard from again.
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